The Pack Report

The Style Evolution and Latest Demand for Fanny Packs and Belt Bags

Fanny packs enjoyed popularity in the ’80s, yet their presence is not universally embraced. While some adore wearing them, others oppose them. However, despite these divided opinions, these functional bags are making a massive comeback.

Is it a fleeting trend, or is it here to stay? Dive into the evolution of these bags, know why it’s back on the scene again, and get some tips on picking your first modern belt bag.

The Style Evolution of Fanny Packs

When you think of fanny packs, chances are you immediately connect them to the 1980s, when fashion was loud and colorful. It’s a bag that slings low on the hips, resting at or about your rear. It used to be an athlete’s must-have but became a staple streetwear accessory to keep keys, wallets, and other small necessities safe. Nowadays, you can find fanny packs, otherwise known as bum bags or belt bags, worn as a front crossbody purse, becoming popular, especially with young women, travelers, and busy moms for hands-free carry-alls.

Their functionality was quickly adopted by tourists, who used the bag to top off their T-shirts and baggy shorts. In 1994, the world witnessed the fanny pack’s transition to a fashion statement with designer brands.

This is where belt bags come into the picture — these are variations of fanny packs with a fashion-forward twist. While commonly used interchangeably, some in the fashion world distinguish them subtly — a fanny pack hangs below the waist and close to the rear, while a belt bag is often worn closer to the waist, much like a belt.

After the skyrocketing success, things changed dramatically for the evolution of the fanny pack style. Around the 2000s, these bags were suddenly uncool and associated with dads instead of style and fashion.

The Rising Demand for Fanny Packs and Belt Bags

These little bags are making a massive comeback, and for good reason. Like anything in fashion, fanny packs aren’t immune to fast-changing trends. They returned to the spotlight due to social media and a boost in sustainable fashion, which is projected to have reached a market of $8.2 billion in 2023. The demand for ethical products birthed sustainable options that use organic cotton and other recycled materials.

 Celebrity fashion mainly empowered the comeback of these functional bags. In 2017, big names such as Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and A$AP Rocky sported fanny packs as stylish and functional pieces for everyday life. The following year, they appeared on many runways in numerous styles.

Belt bags now have adjustable straps, allowing you to wear them around the waist, crossbody style, or over the shoulder. Unlike fanny packs from the ’80s, these bags have less neon and padding. The unisex appeal also solidifies their status as an inclusive fashion item, with men utilizing them primarily as an alternative to messenger bags. Women use them when bringing a handbag might be impractical. In addition, they have become the go-to bag for attending concerts and athletic games and functions because stadiums and arenas now have bag measurement policies in place. 

Fanny Pack as Your Modern Adventure Essential

Modern fanny packs have evolved beyond streetwear and luxury to cater to many lifestyles. Nowadays, the durability and convenience they provide make them ideal for outdoor activities. Here’s why you should consider getting a fanny pack for your adventures:

  • Easy access: A fanny pack provides easy access to valuables, such as a phone, headlamp, compass, and sunscreen.
  • Light movement: This bag allows you to hike without having to stop, sit, and open your backpack, allowing you to conquer more miles. Additionally, bringing this hands-free item means no hip-belt pockets.
  • Security: During an outdoor adventure, the last thing you want to do is look for a missing item. This is why it’s unsafe to keep essentials in your pockets. A fanny pack provides an easy and secure way to access your necessities.

How to Wear a Fanny Pack

What was once a retro accessory is now a mainstay. Check out these ways to style your fanny pack, whether heading out on an adventure or grocery shopping.

  • Waistline: Strap your pack on your natural waistline, with the straps across your belly button or wherever you feel comfortable.
  • Hips: Rest your fanny pack on your hip bones for a more casual vibe. 
  • Under the jacket: Put it underneath your coat when the weather gets chilly. A fanny pack peeking out from beneath your jacket elevates your style, whether wearing it on your waist, hips, or over the shoulder.

Key Considerations When Choosing Your Bag

Are you considering joining the fanny pack trend? Here are some things to remember while deciding which is perfect for you.

Size and Capacity

How much do you carry around? When and where will you use it? If you’re looking for a bag to store small essentials, you might only need just enough to make hiking, skiing and traveling easier. Our Mini Bag is one size fits most, and is 8.5 inches in length, 5 inches in width, and 2 inches in depth, so it has enough room for your phone, keys, and energy bar.


Look for bags crafted using high-quality materials, such as canvas. Investing in a good quality fanny pack ensures it can withstand wear and tear for many years. A well-made large fanny pack comes in a rugged 15-ounce canvas construction and durable zippers that will last you many years. The thick nylon webbing sits comfortably on your hips or shoulders when worn as a crossbody.


Fanny packs come in different prices. Depending on your budget, look for a bag that balances price and performance. With many options in the market, you’re sure to find something you’ll love within your budget. Take time to review them before buying.


Your belt bag is about more than functionality — it’s a fashion statement. It provides convenience and style if you buy the right one. You may opt for a versatile design that matches your wardrobe for all-around use. Avoid flashy, colorful styling if you intend to use the fanny pack for outdoor adventures. It’s best to pick something versatile that can complete any outfit.

Fanny Packs Are Here to Stay

What was once a polarizing bag has returned to the fashion scene. While loved by some and hated by others, one thing’s certain — no one can ignore its functionality and comfort, especially when hitting the trail.

Happy adventuring, friends!

Happy Adventures - Duluth Pack

Guest Post Contributor: Jack Shaw